Originally created as a pilot for a series of Holmes films this became a one off episode for the Lucky Strike sponsored "Your Show Time" series. It was originally aired on 25 March 1949 (Season 1 Episode 10)
Hosted by Arthur Shields
Alan Napier as Sherlock Holmes
Melville Cooper as Dr. Watson
Evelyn Ankers as Helen Stoner
Edgar Barrier as Dr Roylott
Richard Fraser as Helen's fiance
Gail Roberts as Julia Stoner
Directed by Sobey Martin
Written by Walter Doniger
Produced by Marshall Grant and Stanley Rubin
Musical Direction by William Lava
July 13, 2019 Subject:
Not entirely satisfying - the intrusion of the fiance John Armitage (poorly played by Richard Fraser) of Miss Stoner was pointless and took up valuable time that might have been used to better purpose. The host/narrator Andrew Shields has an ingratiating Irish accent - why Irish, I can't imagine - and he provides a narration that isn't really needed for this episode - it was necessary for the continuity of the series - or so the producers and director seemed to think. Alan Napier is an acceptable Holmes as is Melville Cooper as Watson (who for all the world looks like Peter Sellers with makeup), Evelyn Ankers - who was very good in two or three Basil Rathbone as Holmes movies - is without an English accent and makes a beautiful but dull Helen Stoner - hardly the frightened step daughter of the terrible Dr. Grimesby Roylott (Edgar Barrier who is barely okay). For those who are Holmes fanatics only.
May 3, 2014 Subject:
I'm a very poor reviewer. Please forgive me if this review is of unacceptable quality
This is the third version of "The Speckled Band" that I've watched. The other two I've seen are a 1964 version for BBC television, and a 1979 version for Soviet television.
I would say this is the least impressive of the three I've seen, but it's still pretty good. However, I did not like the character of the fiancé, I found that character to be redundant and unnecessary.
June 3, 2012 Subject:
I found this half hour version very well done. Arthur Shields as host was a pleasant surprise. He is the brother of Barry Fitzgerald. Alan Napier was an excellent Holmes. That exaggerated pipe is a h00t! Watson character is ok by me. The gals are sexy! I like the way it was shot. Lots of medium closeups makes for more compelling storytelling without calling attention to the sets in wide shots. The old castle shots were very nice. In all, a most enjoyable production. Thanks Archive. Cheers!
Winner55, in the book, Holmes was so described: "In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller."...so Alan Napier's extreme height wasn't an issue, in fact, height-wise, he was better suited for the role than any other actor. Now, Watson drove me nuts...he wasn't any help, merely comic relief. I feel they could've handled Watson better. But it's still a good interpretation and condensation of the story, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Holmes stories.
Arthur Shields, the heavy-smoking bookseller, died of emphysema in 1970, at age 74.
There's no reason modern anti-smokers should be "upset" by the images here. Along with the facts of how Shields died, these scenes merely serve as a rational reminder to all of us how lethal this habit was, and why it is good that tobacco products are no longer allowed to be advertised, as they were 60 years ago, as if they were beneficial to health.
September 24, 2011 Subject:
Alan Napier's big problem is that he's too tall to play Holmes. Indeed, that was his big problem as an actor - he was too tall for practiocally any part.
He's a good Holmes here. He is not benefitted by a Watson who's protrayed as an imbecile - the more problematic the 'Holmes', the better served by a Watson who is intelligent and able.
Well never, mind; Napier turns in a strong performance.
The heavily-smoking book-seller link-scenes may also upset some in our puritanical anti-smoking era, but that's the way it was.
The story is one of Doyle's best and is well presented.
November 3, 2010 Subject:
My wife and I both really enjoyed this TV version of "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." The scene sets were excellent for the time and location.